“I am a selfish and sinful man, but God put his hands on me, that is all.” -Alan Paton, ‘Cry, the Beloved Country’
I am not big on religion, but I am a person of faith. The fact that I am a follower of Christ is not a secret, but it also isn’t something that I feel the need to proclaim with obnoxious fanfare. It is not a blind or ignorant faith but rather intensely personal, real and an integral part of who I am. I am not perfect; I make many mistakes. I don’t claim to understand everything, and there are many things in life that simply do not make sense, that break the heart and bring much confusion. I acknowledge all that and respect the fact that life is often ugly and messy, yet I am resolutely grounded in my faith.
I was reminded of that fact this afternoon as I was walking. As I’ve been wrestling internally with questions and doubts, heartache and wild emotions, my faith has not wavered. While I cannot make sense of heartbreaking loss or the tragedies that take place in our world, I have peace that passes beyond understanding. My heart may be in a million pieces. I may have moments, days where my emotions are high and low and everywhere in-between; however, there is always an undercurrent of confidence that I am where I am supposed to be, that I am loved, that my hope is built on an unshakeable foundation. There is a great deal that I cannot understand and likely never will, but I see evidence of my God everywhere. I hear His voice in the sigh of the wind through the grasses, the subtle voice inside my head that gently encourages me. I hear His joy in the giggle of a young girl. I feel His pleasure when I achieve one of my goals. I feel His love in the warmth of the sun, the touch of a friend, in Scripture, in song, in the smell of my favourite flowers, in a clear and starry night. I know His power in the fierceness of a storm, the vastness of space, the majesty of the mountains. I sense His peace in the beauty of a rainbow, in the serenity of a sunrise or sunset, in the way a mother sings to her child. I cannot explain a great number of things, but I know who my heavenly Father is and who I am in Him. At the end of the day, that’s really all I need to know.
“But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior.” Jeremiah 20:11a